Posted by: Steve Toll
07/30/12 1:07 pm EST

When you think of Thaddeus Young there are the two things that come to mind, 6’5.75 and $35,521,738?  They should, because that is his how tall he is without shoes, and how much he is owed the next 4 seasons (year 4 is a $9.72 mil player option).  

If the Sixers front office truly had a plan, Iguodala would have been traded this past off-season or at the trade deadline.  Reason being, the front office and fans would have a full season or half a season to evaluate Thaddeus at SF.  Instead, the 76ers still have Iguodala, whose trade value is hugely diminished (has an early termination option after this season and the 7-6 has to trade him now or risk losing him to free agency) and drafted Maurice Harkless as the heir apparent at SF.

If we want to say Thaddeus is a PF, it makes sense to compare him to Paul Millsap, Kenneth Faried, Trevor Booker and Brandon Bass.  Each measured between 6’6 and 6’6.25 without shoes according to draft combine numbers.  Thad measured 6’5.75 without shoes.  After the jump a close look at how all these players match-up.

Here are the players draft combine numbers:


  VERT (inchs)   Lane Agility (secs)   3/4 Court Sprint (secs)   Bench (185 lbs.)   Weight
Thad 37   11.06   3.19   13x   210
Booker 36   11.15   3.1   22x   236
Faried 35   11.35   3.24   16x   225
Bass 35   11.61   3.26   18x   246
Millsap 32.5   11.67   3.3   15x   258

Two things stand out, Trevor Booker is a beast and Thaddeus sure measures like a SF

Production is what we need to look at next.  We will look at Thaddeus (23), Faried (22) and Booker (24) for their 2011-2012 production.  Bass and Millsap will have their numbers from 08-09 when they were both 23 years old.

                    MPG     Total Minutes
Thaddeus      27.9         1755
Millsap         30.1        2290
Faried           22.5         1037
Bass             19.4         1574
Booker         25.2          1261

All the stats will be based off per 36 minute numbers.

  Points (Per 36)   TS%   Rebs   Blks   Ast : TO Ratio (per gm, not per 36)
Thad 16.6   0.538   6.7   0.8   1.35 : 1
Faried 16.4   0.618   12.2   1.6   .66 : 1
Millsap 16.2   0.576   10.3   1.1   1.07 : 1
Bass 15.7   0.571   8.4   1.3   .5 : 1
Booker 12   0.549   9.3   1.2   .69 : 1


Thaddeus took up the most offense and was the least efficient scorer but is obviously the best ball handler among this group.  Thaddeus blocks shots like he is Karl Malone, it’s not a compliment.  Booker had the exact same rebound total as Thaddeus in 494 less minutes.  Everything points to Thaddeus Young being a SF.

Okay, so this group was cherry picked from a productive group of PFs of the same height and age.  There is still reason to doubt that Thaddeus can play SF.  The fairest thing to do is ask Rudy Gay (who seems to be a favorite trade target for Iguodala) what he thinks of Thaddeus Young as they may soon be teammates.  Rudy Gay was unavailable for comment but his statistics were ready and willing to give answers to all the pertinent questions in comparing the 2 players career numbers.

Here are their measurements from their Draft Combines

6’5.75 w/o shoes, 37 inches vert, 11.06 lane agility, 3.19 3/4 sprint, 13x 185lb bench

6.7 without shoes, 40.5 inch vert, 11.03 lanes agility, 3.32 3/4 sprint, 9x 185 lb bench

The 2nd thing that came up was $53,500,000 (Gay) and $26,000,000 (Thad) over the next 3 seasons.  Since your salary really should be factored into production (more salary for you, less for teammates), it becomes obvious right away Rudy Gay would need to be 2x the player Thaddeus is to justify having Gay > Thaddeus as a SF (point of note: Lebron is owed just under 58 mil the next 3 years).

Offensively, it is widely presumed that Rudy Gay is some great offensive player who scores alot.  Let’s look at the metrics to see if that is true.  Usage describes how much of a team’s offense that a player uses up.  In their careers, Rudy Gay is at 23.9% and Thad Young is at 20.7%.  What that means comparatively, is Thaddeus uses 87 possessions for every 100 Rudy possessions.  In those possessions many things can happen.  Looking at 2pt field goal attempts,  48.3% of Rudy Gays 2pt shots go in the hoop, Thad Young shoots at 52.5%.  In 08-09 and 09-10, Thaddeus took 300+ 3pt shots and hit at .344%(.337 career, 45 3pt attempts total the other 3 years), Gay is a career .347% 3pt shooter, over a much more significant sample.  Once free throws are added into the equation, you come up with a True Shooting %.  Thad Young comes out at .548% and Rudy Gay at .531%.  Per 48 minutes, scoring numbers Thad 21.4 pts and Rudy Gay 23.8 points.

Assist : Turnover Ratio is nearly identical .86 :1 for Thad and .85:1 for Gay. Same for foul rate, Thad 1 foul per 14.1 minutes and Gay 1 foul per 14.2 minutes.  In regards to steals and blocks: 3% of defensive possessions end up in Thad getting a steal or block, for Rudy Gay it is 3.8%.  The advantage in these categories goes slightly to Gay.  It’s difficult to predict how Thad would produce against only SF, but it is likely he would stay near the same averages and any changes would be minimal

Rebounding numbers look similar, but they are deceiving.  Per 36 minutes, Gay grabs 5.7 rebounds and Thaddeus Young 6.4 rebounds. That seems pretty close.  If you look at it from this perspective, in 5600 less minutes, Thad Young has more career offensive rebounds that Rudy Gay, which is quite significant.  The voracious offensive rebounder is always more valuable than the defensive rebounder because so many defensive rebounds are essentially “empty rebounds”.  The rebound numbers are close, but the rebound value is greatly in Thad’s favor.

In conclusion, Thad scores a bit less per minute albeit more efficiently.  Assist, Turnover and Foul Rate are pretty much a dead heat. Gay creates more havoc on defense while Thad Young more than makes up for it by destroying Gay’s numbers on the offensive glass.  

The argument could certainly be made that with an increase in minutes Thad would be less efficient scoring, assist at a lower rate, and have an increase in TO+Foul rate.  Last but certainly not least, take all the above stats into consideration and remember that Rudy Gay is paid twice what Thaddeus Young will make in the next 3 years. 

Looking at these numbers, its apparent that Thaddeus Young is a SF.

Now we get to the Thaddeus conundrum.  He plays with the 3rd best SF in basketball (Andre Iguodala) and now Maurice Harkless, a pure SF (with a shaky stroke) who was just drafted with the 15th pick.  Something needs to be done, if the Sixers front office is really making a “youth movement”.  The move that makes the most sense is actually trade Thad, he has value right now.  Much more than Dre who is a lock, to exercise his Early Termination Option after the upcoming season (The 76ers best hope for getting something for Iguodala is a package of Iggy+Holiday for Westbrook, which cant be done until January 15).

There are trade scenarios where the Sixers can get back immediate talent or load up for the future:

Possible trade scenarios are just for discussion purpose:

Thaddeus + Moultrie for Josh Smith

The PF issue would be solved, the team will be in a dogfight all year withMilwaukeeandWashingtonto makes the playoffs as opposed to being outright terrible and have tons of cap space in 2013

Thaddeus + 3 million cash for Xavier Henry + NO 2013 1st round pick.

This trade would create a 5.5+ million trade exception for Philadelphia and give us 2 lottery picks and a ton of cap room in 2013

Thaddeus +  Hawes + Holiday + Lavoy for Bynum.

A top 15 player for those four guys, yes please.

Thaddeus for Andris Biedrins

Biedrins is owed $18,000,000 (9,9) the next 2 seasons, he also has an 2013 Early Termination Option.  Biedrins has had confidence and injury issues the last few years. He is also 26 and put up a 3 year stretch averaging 29mpg, 10.5pts (fg% 60), 10 rebounds (3.3 oreb) 1.5 blks, .85 steals per game. During that stretch from 06-07 to 08-09 he was one of the 30 best players in the NBA.






16 Responses to “THE THAD QUESTION”

  1. Alext182
    30. July 2012 at 13:35

    As a longtime Sonics/Thunder fan, I can assure you that there is absolutely no way the 76ers could trade for Westbrook. The trade mentioned would make absolutely no sense for the Thunder–Holiday is supposedly hoping for a max deal, and one assumes Iggy is too. Thus, the Thunder would be trading Westbrook and likely losing the opportunity to sign Harden and Ibaka. And they would be doing so to overpay for Holiday and getting Iggy (who I love) who plays the same position as KD. Iggy and KD can play multiple positions, but ultimately they are best as 3’s.

    The rest of the trades make little sense–the Lakers would never trade Bynum for that, nor would the Hawks take that offer for Smith. NO is rebuilding through picks and young players. Biedrinis is available, but I’m not sure why 76ers would do that trade.

    I like the idea of demonstrating that Young is a 3. I think I have read that his offense is better at the 4 spot but his d/rebounding are not a good fit there. But I thought the trade ideas were not realistic–haven’t the contracts for Young, Allen, Hawes, and potentially Holiday been criticized on this blog itself? It isn’t as if other fans/GMs haven’t noticed so you can offer several of them for other teams all stars.

  2. Gary
    30. July 2012 at 15:31

    Thad Young gives us nothing in the Play Offs.
    That’s all I need to know.

    Trade him.

  3. RYN_JAY
    30. July 2012 at 15:51

    I don’t agree with any of your trade scenarios. One of the great things about this team is its depth. You just need to be patient. There’s no reason to make any more moves this year.

  4. Stephen
    30. July 2012 at 16:05

    Your analysis doesn’t take into account that he guards PF’s and is guarded by PF’s. What is the difference between how he plays against PF’s v. SF’s? That would be the most telling statistic, not how fast he runs or how many push-ups he can do.

  5. Jeff
    30. July 2012 at 20:27

    There’s no reason not to believe that Thaddeus can’t put enough weight on to be a force at the SF position. Outside of Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner, Thaddeus is probably the most hard working Sixer on the team in the off-season. There’s no reason to compare Thad to other PF’s, because the Sixers don’t expect him to play like a PF. They expect him to come in as a scorer/high-energy guy who can out-run and beat other PF’s off the dribble. For everyone that’s said Thad has “peaked” in terms of his development this isn’t true at all. The problem really is Andre Iguodala. He’s so good that you can’t not start him, which will always make Thad the odd-man out. Team’s obviously haven’t given the Sixers front office enough of an offer for Dre over the years which is why he’s still on the roster. There’s a reason why the Sixers pressed to play Iguodala at the SG spot, but soon found out he can’t hit the backside of a barn and doesn’t have a good enough handle to create his own shots often enough. The only way the Sixers will give up Iguodala now is for a young/proven big man in return. Until then Thaddeus will continue to do what he does, be one of the most consistent 6th men in the NBA.

  6. Salis
    30. July 2012 at 22:57

    Iggy the 3rd best SF in the game?? Lebron,KD,Melo,Rudy,Paul Peirce…are better then I would take acouple more over him aswell….Cmon man…

  7. bo
    30. July 2012 at 23:43

    As a lifetime sixer fan i have to say that thad is one of my favorite players on the team.But i would not care if he was traded to get a player who will make the sixers better.Do not trade iggy.pAst trades have not worked well for philly,like the brad dautery for no knees from the bullets.then traded malone for terry catchins,and barkley for nobody i remember.a history of bad moves.

  8. getridofstevetoll
    31. July 2012 at 00:12

    Steve Toll is maybe the worst analyzer of basketball I have ever seen. Skip Bayless could write better articles than you.

  9. NorthPhillyTechie
    31. July 2012 at 10:07

    Good analysis, and it backs up what the eyes tell us. Thad is not a PF, he is a second string SF. There really is no reason to keep him unless he stays in his current role, which is actually not bad for his salary, as pointed out in the article.

    I think the 76ers should keep Iguodala first and foremost for 2 reasons; 1) The team defense is far worse without him, and 2) His unique skill set is perfect for this team, but doesn’t translate into trade value that would return comparable value.

  10. JT's Hoops Blog
    31. July 2012 at 11:33

    I never liked that for this simple reason: I do not know what he really is. he has no perimeter game so he cannot be a SF and he is too slight of build to be an effective PF.

  11. Adam
    31. July 2012 at 12:17

    But thad must be traded…. For expiring contracts… We need to get deep under the cap for 2013 FA.

  12. Mike
    31. July 2012 at 23:23

    The PF issue would be solved, the team will be in a dogfight all year withMilwaukeeandWashingtonto makes the playoffs as opposed to being outright terrible and have tons of cap space in 2013

    Much better then your last article Steve, but i still disagree with him as he is set on the Sixers being awful this year. I do agree with your one trade proposal, the Josh Smith one, the power forward role would defintely be solved.

  13. Big Jules
    2. August 2012 at 23:08

    You want to know Thad’s value around the league? Ask the GM’s that tendered him an offer sheet last summer. Oh that’s right, no GM tendered him an offer sheet last summer. Before you say, “But he was a RFA last summer, that’s why GM’s didn’t bother”, what about Asik, Lynn, Gordon, Batum, Hibbert, and Fields? If you argue teams didn’t have cap space to go after FA’s last year, why did the Sixers bid against themselves and give Thad the deal they gave him? The Sixers made their bed with Thad, so they need to just trade Iggy while his value is high to see what Thad can do as a starter.

  14. ken
    3. August 2012 at 01:25

    with lou williams now gone thad will become our sixth player on our team and i love him in that role. if you look at most of the elite teams in the nba they have a bench player that makes alot of money, maybe not as much as thad but close to him bc a sixth man is just as important as a starter bc they give you that scoring ability while your starters are sitting. as far as ppl claiming he cant do anything in the playoffs you forget hwo effective he was for most of the heat series 2 years ago and how he won us a playoff game against the magic 3 years ago. this year with the shortened season and having to play so many games in so little time against ppl that outmuscle him every minute of every game he was dead and had nothing left come playoffs. this year will be his year to prove himself, if he doesnt then you can trade him but i beleive 100% he will be a difference maker on this team this coming year

  15. Jamie
    3. August 2012 at 13:19

    Tremendous evaluation. He is a SF and always has been. He also is one of the most intelligent players in the NBA. He has value, problem is theres a big hole at PF unless they decide Lavoy Allen, Craig Brackens, and Kwame Brown can fill the void left behind by Elton Brand. I think we’ll see him in the Lou Williams role of last year, first off the bench, vying for sixth man of the year.

  16. Jamie
    3. August 2012 at 13:30

    Wait….Kwame Brown is the starting center and Hawes is the PF? Hmmmm….weird, but smart.

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